LINGUIST List 16.22
Mon Jan 10 2005
Sum: Etymology of 'Bikini Atoll'
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Etymology of 'Bikini Atoll'
Message 1: Etymology of 'Bikini Atoll'
From: Boyan Nikolaev <boyannikolaevyahoo.com>
Subject: Etymology of 'Bikini Atoll'
Regarding query http://linguistlist.org/issues/15/15-3550.html#1
Over the 10 days after posting this query I received comments and advice
from the following six colleagues:
- Mikael Parkvall, Sweden, who told me of a new, 4th, -kini word in Swedish;
- Laurence Horn of Yale with a somewhat different hypothesis for the
introduction of mono- instead of bi-; he also quoted a dictionary
explanation and cross-posted my query to the American Dialect Society,
where there are a number of etymologists and lexicographers who may have
additional comments to send;
- Nancy Fishberg, who mentioned some interesting literary sources for my
- Peter T. Daniels, who generally agrees with me;
- Gordon Brown, interested in the subject;
- Ghil'ad Zuckermann who was interested in the subject and offered some
relevant Yiddish correlates of the -kini words.
I thank all who got in touch with me and who shared their know-how on the
subject. However, no Marshallese connection was established and I still do
not know for certain whether the bi- in bikini, by any off chance, came
from the Latin bin, bis. While at this point we do not have the Marshallese
etymology of the word bikini, I suggest that we do not close the current
discussion. I think that any further response and contribution to the
discussion about the possible Marshallese etymology of the word bikini
should be welcome. The extension of this discussion should be the meaning
of the proper name Bikini (as used in Bikini Atoll).
Dr. Boyan Nikolaev
Linguistic Field(s): General Linguistics
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